ERIK TEN HAG HAS told a hostile Anfield to “bring it on”.
The Manchester United manager says he and his players will thrive on the atmosphere away at Liverpool as they search for a first win there in seven years.
The Red Devils head there on Sunday full of confidence after bagging the Carabao Cup and reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals as they continue an unprecedented quadruple bid.
And Ten Hag said: “I'm looking forward to it, the ambiance, the atmosphere. It will be great, it will be hostile against us, but we like that.”
And he has warned Jurgen Klopp that his players are ready to give everything to land that much sought-after win at the home of their bitterest rivals.
He said: “I know these players, my squad, my team, will be prepared to go there and fight and to go there with confidence.
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“We know it's going to be difficult, we know we will have to suffer and we will have to sacrifice to get a good result.
“I look forward to Sunday and I'm really going to enjoy this."
Having already lost away from home to the two teams above them in Manchester City and Arsenal, United are looking for a really big statement win away from Old Trafford.
That has been turned back into a fortress but away from home the Red Devils have won just six of their 12 league games losing four and drawing two.
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“So that is the next step we have to make then," Ten Hag said.
He added: “I think, away from home, we've had some really good performances. For me it's no different – the pitch is the same size everywhere, there are three referees, there's a fourth official, the ball is round, there is air in the ball.
“So we have to play and to make it our game, and of course, we know the ambiance will not be supporting us and you have to deal with that. But, as I said, our players, they like it. They like to play in such atmospheres."
United go into the game on a run of nine wins and two draws in all competitions since their last defeat away to league leaders Arsenal.
The momentum behind them is huge after beating Newcastle 2-0 last Sunday in that Carabao Cup final at Wembley.
On Wednesday they produced a dramatic 3-1 comeback victory over West Ham to book a home tie in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup against Fulham.
Next Thursday they play the first leg of their last 16 tie in the Europa League against Spanish side Real Betis.
There has been no let up from Ten Hag or his players since everyone got back together after the World Cup in Qatar.
If he has sensed one, he has come down hard, like at half-time against The Hammers when he sensed his players' levels had dropped.
He said: “What I saw was that we were not playing to our standards. That's what I saw in the first half. Then I will be tough on my team, to my players, because I demand a performance. Every day I demand a performance.
“I don't accept when it's lower, then I will criticise them and tell them what to expect. Then I have to give the team solutions on how to win the game and I think the performance in the second-half was much better.”
The trip to Anfield comes in the middle of a punishing run of fixtures as they fight on those four fronts.
The team played eight games in 26 days last month and have six in 19 in March.
But the manager continues to emphasise how much his team are relishing the demands.
He said: “We like to play. We have energy from playing every third or fourth day. We want to keep that going but think about game by game. Now it's Sunday.
“We face a fantastic opponent and we're looking forward to it.”
The last time United faced Liverpool things were very different.
They had just lost their opening two games under Ten Hag, 2-1 at home to Brighton and 4-0 at Brentford.
The club had hit its lowest point since Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out but Ten Hag dug deep to turn things around.
That 2-1 victory at home to Liverpool in the next game last August proved the catalyst and they have not looked back.
Ten Hag said: “It was a few months back, now we are in a different process, it's a different period, so I don't look back, I look forward.
“I think our team, our mentality in general is very good. I think we also have many leaders who set the mentality, who set the standards, who control the standards, who correct if necessary. I think we are happy with this process but it can always be better. That has to be the approach.”
While Liverpool’s 5-2 home defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League suggested there are still big problems for manager Klopp they have actually picked up in the Premier League.
They have not conceded in their last four top flight games winning three.
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